Backflip on bail houses after costly failures
QUEENSLAND'S controversial youth bail house scheme will be scrapped after it was found the program failed to make a difference.
Children and Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard announced on Tuesday the troubled initiative would cease in January in what the Liberal National Party has dubbed a "bail house backflip".
The Labor government introduced the initiative in 2017 in an effort to offer teens a place to live in the community while on remand.
There are two bail houses in Townsville and two in southeast Queensland, each with a maximum capacity of four.
It cost taxpayers $8,833,695 to run the program last financial year, for 112 teens, at a cost of almost $80,000 each.
Despite the cost, damning figures in the report show the $31m program did little to stop teens reoffending.
More than 80 per cent of children who left bail homes between January 2018 and December 2019 committed further crimes, a rate on par with youth reoffenders broadly.
A third, independent evaluation of the Supervised Community Accommodation (SCA) program, undertaken by Ernst and Young, found the project was too expensive and did not reduce crime.
"Although reoffending declines while in an SCA, there is insufficient information to conclude whether reoffending rates on transition back to the community is lesser in duration or severity compared to like population data," the report found.
Despite this, the findings did note that the program provided "safe, secure and stable" accommodation for children in its care.
Ms Linard said the review found bail homes were "doing their job" to provide appropriate service and reduce reoffending.
"After considering the report, we've decided to close the SCAs because we are committed to acting on the evidence," she said.
LNP Shadow Police Minister Dale Last said taxpayers paid a high price with no return.
"Labor said bail houses would work but since day one they've been a dismal failure," Mr Last said.
"The people who live near these failed experiments will be happy to see them gone."
It garnered significant criticism, particularly in Townsville, after the Bulletin revealed children in bail houses had breached their curfew almost twice as many times as children at the homes in the southeast.
The Bulletin also reported that between July 2019 and January this year, the total number of "critical incidents" including missing children reports, assault and medical episodes across the four homes surpassed the number recorded in the entire previous year.
Townsville facilities recorded a shocking 295 curfew breaches compared to 214 at Logan and 108 at Carbrook during that same period.
Originally published as Backflip on bail houses after costly failures